Not quite SingStar
When you sit down in a theatre for a showing of Avenue Q or The Producers, you expect musical numbers. That's the place where they belong. Same goes for when you switch on a music game like Parappa or Rock Band. But when you sit down to headshot aliens or race around Rainbow Road, you don't expect a full song and dance routine to pop out of your screen.
Sometimes, though, gaming mascots surprise us by spontaneously bursting into song at the least appropriate moments. The last thing you expect after infiltrating an enemy base or encountering a giant boss is a happy tune, but it's totally possible. Here are the most bizarre, hilarious times that games have struck up the band. Hit it, boys!
7. Funky Credits (Rogue Warrior)
Nope, this isnt some YouTube parody of Road Warrior. In case you missed it, Rogue Warrior is a garbage heap starring none other than The Wrestler himself, Mickey Rourke. Rourke plays real life operative Richard Marcinko (opens in new tab) on a purely fictional secret mission to North Korea, sending hordes of Commies to their collective doom. Most importantly, it's one of the most swear-filled, grisliest games ever created which is why Rourke's poppy rap over the credits (opens in new tab) takes everyone by surprise.
Once the campaign ends, all the times Rourke curses like a sailor get sampled and remixed into a number called Funky Credits. When that groovy synth kicks in after the first verse, you know you're listening to a modern classic. This number is so bafflingly brilliant it's almost worth playing through the game for. Almost.
6. The Great Mighty Poo (Conker's Bad Fur Day)
Conker's troubled day on the N64 is filled with bizarre encounters: diarrhea-ridden cows, horny bumblebees, deadly bales of hay. After all that, it's really no surprise that you encounter a living mountain of feces. But when you descend into the cesspool to save a couple of dung beetles, the last thing you expect is opera (opens in new tab).
When he wakes up, you're treated to a classy deep-voiced number sung by The Great Mighty Poo. The lyrics cover all his most important details: his powers, his anatomy, even his poopy threats toward Conker. It's surprising, no doubt, but the sheer gross-out level of the song is what makes it unforgettable. Don't deny it, you know at least the opening lyrics to this one. Mi mi mi mi mi
5. Bonus Room (Skullmonkeys)
Skullmonkeys is just plain weird at times with its claymation style and goofy character names (just look at the boss fight against torso-face guy up there). And if you enter one of several bonus levels, you'll find a pleasant surprise: a soft, coffee shop-like acoustic diddy (opens in new tab).
The fact that the extra stage has its own happy song is surprising enough, but even more unexpected is how deep the song gets. It's not just about walking around, collecting goodies: the lyrics start to sound like a self-help seminar, going on about father figures, imagination, and residual checks. And it all ends with the line "I'll never leave you." Creepy, but true.
4. Party Time (Night Trap)
Part slumber party, part Home Alone emulator, part voyeurism sim; Night Trap is an FMV game about protecting some lovely ladies from home invaders. It's hard to a take full-motion video game like this seriously, especially when it feels like a Taken movie directed by John Hughes. But things take a poppy turn early on, as one girl grabs a tennis racket like a guitar and jams out in front of her friends (opens in new tab).
It's a little mind-bending, considering the girls lip-sync to a song about Night Trap itself. The tune sports lines like "Bad guys will find you" and "Look out behind you," setting the mood for the FMV adventure to come. And the best part? You can totally get a game over in the middle of the song, because the bad guys will invade if you spend too much time watching them sing. Should've heeded those lyrics, man...
3. DK Rap (Donkey Kong 64)
Picture this: it's 1999, and you just completed Donkey Kong Country (you were late to the party on that one). Then your friend tells you the new Donkey Kong game is out for the Nintendo 64. That means great new platforming and tons of levels. You're stoked! You buy the game and boot it up, and the first thing you see is... Cranky Kong on the turntables (opens in new tab)!?
The last thing anyone expects from a DK game is a rap, but that's exactly what you get here. More surprising is how informative the song is, teaching you all about the five lead characters' powers. How else would you know that Tiny can shrink in size to suit her mood? Or that Chunky can pick up boulders with relative ease? Like Conker, this is a Rare product too, so feel free to imagine a rap battle between DK and the Mighty Poo.
2. A Pirate I Was Meant to Be (Curse of Monkey Island)
Guybrush Threepwood's first two adventures on Monkey Island are filled with slapstick moments (ziplining with a rubber chicken is a personal favorite). And the game is about pirates, a group known for "yo ho ho"-ing and singing songs about tavern wenches and rum. So a special shanty for the third game (opens in new tab) isn't unexpected. The hilarious part is how the player is unwillingly made to join in.
Guybrush and crew are about to set sail when a goofy trio of his men break into song. Try any command, and they'll turn it into a rhyme. Lines like "less singing more sailing" are met with "when we defeat our wicked foe, his ship he will be bailing." There's no point to their tune--it's just about what they're going to do when they actually start sailing--but that's the joke. What ends the song? The pirates inability to find a rhyme for orange.
1. Ending (Amped 3)
Here's the main thing you need to know about Amped 3: it's a snowboarding game. You're picturing fresh snow, steep slopes, and sweet ramps, right? Well, it's actually full of bizarre cutscenes with sock puppets and cardboard cutouts, but even those sketches can't prepare you for the game's ending (opens in new tab). It's a mind-numbing musical number born of the Muppets, Robot Chicken, and Monty Python that totally sucker punches your eardrums.
It starts with a pig in a suit except it's actually a severed, singing head atop a pedestal. Then we get dancing robots, hippies, rock-loving monks, redheads on unicorns, a Skeletor ripoff, and a Dickensian orphan--and those are just the characters who sing. Of course, you could just skip all this madness by pressing A, but why rob yourself of some insane nightmares later tonight?
One last note
You never know when someone's going to break into song, but we hooooope you enjoyed reeeaaading about the best oooooones!!! Sorry, I don't know what came over me there. Write a verse in the comments; I've got a melody that needs workshopping.
Like your video games with a dose of music? Check out the the best uses of pop music in video games (opens in new tab). And if you've ever wondered what if video game characters wrote songs (opens in new tab), we've got that covered.